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Cave of the Patriarchs

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Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, Israel.

The Cave of the Patriarchs—also known as the Cave of Machpelah (Hebrew: מערת המכפלה, Me'arat HaMachpela, Name means::"cave of the double tombs") or the Sanctuary of Abraham (Arabic: الحرم الإبراهيمي‎, Al-Haram Al-Ibrahimi)—is the burial chamber for the early biblical Patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob). The compound, located in the ancient city of Hebron in the West Bank, is the second holiest site for Jews (after the Temple Mount in Jerusalem) and is also venerated by Christians and Muslims who maintain that the site is the burial place of three biblical couples: (1) Abraham and Sarah; (2) Isaac and Rebekah; (3) Jacob and Leah.

Book of Genesis

It is mentioned as having been purchased by the Hebrew patriarch Abraham as a burial plot for his family after his wife Sarah died (Genesis 23:1-20 ). He bought a plot of land near Hebron from Ephron the Hittite, the Cave of Machpelah, for 400 shekels of silver. There he buried his wife Sarah. Later Abraham himself (Genesis 49:31 ), Isaac and Rebekah (Genesis 35:29 ; Genesis 49:31 ), then Jacob and Leah (Genesis 49:28-33 ; Genesis 50:4-5 ; Genesis 50:12-13 ) were buried there. The Hebrew name ("cave of the double tombs") refers to the physical layout of the original two chambers. Jacob dug further in, to make a third chamber for Leah and himself (Genesis 50:5 ). Jacob's other wife, Rachel, was buried "in the way to Ephrath, which is Bethlehem" (Genesis 35:19-20 ). The site is now known as the Tomb of the Patriarchs or the Tomb of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs and is a sacred site to Christians, Jews, and Muslims alike.


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